Dream Chronicles: The Book of Air kicks off a new trilogy in the Dream Chronicles series
Dream Chronicles: The Book of Air is the fourth game in the Dream Chronicles series (and the first of a new trilogy, according to PlayFirst), and it’s time to pass the torch to the next generation: Faye’s half-fairy daughter Lyra, who is now 18 years old.
The game begins with Lyra vanishing and reappearing all alone in the town of Wish. Thankfully, her grandfather, Tangle, is still able to communicate with her by sending helpful notes when he can. It seems that someone has sent Lyra to another dimension, and the only way she can escape is by seeking out someone known as the Clockmaster.
Like previous Dream Chronicles games, The Book of Air combines point-and-click adventure gameplay with a certain amount of seek-and-find. Lyra also has a handful of spells at her disposal that can be used for things like translating the fairy language, illuminating dark areas, and even calling down thunder and rain from the sky. You unlock these spells by finding dream jewels scattered throughout. The game spans several distinct areas that can be travelled to by airship once you discover the correct coordinates for a location and find colored stones to use as fuel.
One of the biggest improvements The Book of Air has over its predecessors is its hint system. Although it’s still possible to get hung up on some of the game’s more taxing brainteasers, you’ll no longer find yourself stuck trying to find items thanks to a recharging magnifying glass that can be used to reveal an object’s location. You can even use it to find dream jewels.
There are also two modes: Casual and Challenge. In casual mode, the mini-game puzzles are slightly less challenging, and you can skip them after a certain amount of time has passed.
Animated sequences and highly detailed environments make the game easy on the eye, and the character voice-overs and pleasant soundtrack round out the high production values that we’ve come to expect from a Dream Chronicles game.
However, at the same time The Book of Air lacks some of the “wow” factor of previous games in the series. Most of the mini-games are variations on things we’ve seen dozens of times before: from reassembling pictures, placing gears and deciphering letters to a superfluous collapse-style puzzle that must be played each time the airship takes off. The story ultimately falls a bit flat as well, perhaps because instead of dealing with meddling fairies and their interfering magic, you’re simply searching for a bunch of keys.
The Book of Air is still an enjoyable casual adventure/HOG, but compared to the high standards set by previous games in the series, it comes up a little short. Let’s hope that Lyra’s next adventure is a more memorable one.